Whether it’s too complicated depends on who’s assessing it. Educators who were provided copies of the state’s 40-page explainer might or might not have different thoughts on that question before and after reading it.
What it will do, state education officials say, is take into account many other performance indicators along with standardized tests like the familiar Criterion Referenced Competency Test (a name that has always sounded as it if crawled from the rubble of a bureaucratic laboratory accident).
The new formula will grade schools, using a classroom-type 100-point scale, on graduation rates, attendance, academic growth and, yes, standardized test scores.
But it reportedly will also give greater weight to schools’ success in closing achievement gaps, offering special programs in math and other sciences and — perhaps most significant — showing significant progress in the performance of poor students, and those with disabilities or limited English language skills. As the education of poor and otherwise disadvantaged children always has been and perhaps always will be the most daunting challenge of public schools (politicians’ glib and tiresome “no excuses” mantra notwithstanding), it’s altogether appropriate that success in that realm should carry more weight.
The College and Career Ready Performance Index will get a test run later this month, when “advisory” scores are released for the 2011-2012 school year. That should give the state and its public school districts a sense of how the new system works. Education is not a simple process, and simplistic means of evaluating it serve nobody’s best interest.